If Next's Childhood menu represented the wistful memories of an 80s childhood, the 80s Week menu at EL Ideas this week is more like its older brother, the sarcastic teenager. Phillip Foss and his crew donned Bears jerseys the ultimate symbol of Chicago in the 80s and cranked up the early MTV-era tunes. But they didn't just go for fun, but easy, 80s references with the food (Gag Me With a Spoon of Caviar! Star Trek II: The Wrath of Consomme!) The most ingenious part is that they built their menu around versions from straight up to reconstructed and remixed of genuine 80s food. While some of it's naive or dated from our perspective, the 80s were the decade where our modern foodcentric world was born, and the EL team's tributes to Asian fusion, Cajun cooking, or the then-novel idea of mixing fruit and seafood makes 80s Week a fascinating excursion into the archeology of our own tastes. (Then there's the dessert course called "Like a Virgin," built around a cherry that pops.) Check out our man Huge Galdones' pictures of the menu, which runs through this weekend and occasionally has spaces become available, below.
Team EL, we want to know: who would win, Ditka or molecular gastronomy?
Philip "Jim McMahon" Foss welcomes the crowd, some dressed to the nines in down vests. Foss says the idea behind the menu was, "We're always looking forward, thinking forward— we needed a break to go backward."
Plating "Cold War," a dish featuring Ossetra caviar, "slices of smoked and salted Communist sturgeon," and frozen vodka-infused horseradish créme fraiche.
Crab Tower— a dish inspired by hotel cuisine of the era, featuring Dungeness crab with fruity accompaniments like mango and kiwi coulis. "In the 80s, everything was in a tower," Foss says.
Blackened redfish a la Paul Prud'homme. Foss told us the very beginning of the idea came from the chefs talking about Charlie Trotter closing. "And we were talking about 80s food, and that got us talking about some of the iconic dishes of that time, like blackened fish."
Lobster tails a la nouvelle cuisine— a small Asian-fusion dish on a very big plate.
Cedar plank salmon— but instead of the fish, it's the roe, with notes of cedar and a mustard gelée.
"Cocaine," served with a razor blade and a straw. It's actually flavored powders Foss got from Terra Spice, and so far, Foss says, no one's actually tried to snort it. "Up to this point it's been kind of these classic dishes from the 80s, and everyone's pretty quiet. Then I come out with powder on my face and go, 'Whoa, this is fucking awesome,' and suddenly the whole room is noisy and wild for the rest of the meal."
Buckwheat— roasted foie served with buckwheat groats and a huckleberry coulis. It's otay!
Rockin' the "woks."
Wang Chung: duck a l'orange with julienned Asian stir fry vegetables— and MSG, of course!
Plating "Where's The Beef?"
Where's The Beef— Loin of Beef with creamy chive mashed potatoes, garnished with Hollandaise.
Like a Virgin— cherry explosion with ground almonds.
Death By Chocolate— a tribute to Michael Jackson which combines dark, milk and white chocolate. "I have a feeling there will be more things like this," Foss answers when asked if he has more themes in the works.
Most Viewed Stories
Watch a Tokyo Chef Explain the Rules of Eating Sushi
36 New Restaurants Opening This Fall
The 20 Best Nightlife Picks for Fall
Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls
The 101 Best (New) Cheap Eats, Ranked
Search by name
Or, search by
Latest News on Grub StreetRestaurant Review: At Nomad Bar and Bar Primi, Bar Food Gets Some Serious Upgrades—but Bring Earplugs
Two stars apiece for these high-decibel dining destinations.We’re Starting Our Last-Minute, Late-Summer Road Trip a Few Hours Early
Have a great Labor Day weekend.Food Event at Housing Works; FeelFood’s Fashion Week Special
Today's Leftovers.Someone Went on an Emoji-Themed Diet for a Week
Hope they like rice.Your Almond Consumption Is Killing California’s Salmon and Honeybees
The nut's unprecedented use has a few consequences.Grub Street’s Restaurant Power Rankings: Berg’n, Bâtard, and Lots More
Find out where to eat in Grub Street's weekly ranking of the city's most-buzzed-about restaurants.On-Break EMTs Rescue Applebee’s Customers and Staff From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Restaurant had no sensor, despite a death at nearby Legal Seafoods earlier this year.Iconic Katz’s Deli Has Sold Air Rights, But the Pastrami Is Safe
"The most important thing is that the future of Katz’s is secure — at the end of the day, no developer can ever come in and knock us down to put in a high rise."Jared Leto Stops at Bar Primi; the Clintons Dine at Sotto Sopra
This week's Celebrity Settings.You Should Totally Apply to Become Noma’s Next Pastry Chef
"Expect lots of craziness, lots of action, and a trip to Japan," says Redzepi. Also, there's an eight-month training period.
For those customers begging for "a bolder flavor."Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls
"Is the yogurt having sex, in my mouth, as I eat it? Is it some sort of dairy orgy?"Fair Folks Opens Coffee Bar in the East Village; Labor Day Parties
Today's Leftovers.Maryland Stadium Unveils 1-and-a-Half Pound Pretzel Smothered With Cheesy Crab Dip
It serves four, and at $17.50, that's a steal.Obamas’ Personal Chef Taking Over Stone Barns on Saturday for Giant Wedding
The so-called political "'It couple' of the year" are keeping it low-key.Ex Employee Sues Little Caesars for Denying Same-Sex Spouse Insurance Benefits
Spouses at Little Caesars are "the opposite gender from you."Magnolia Bakery Just Opened a Terribly Timed Moscow Location
The empire-building sweets chain is optimistic about locally sourced buttercream.Community Board Says Pranna’s Bottomless Brunch Has to Go
It's on a three-month probation after neighbors' complaints last night.Watch a Tokyo Chef Explain the Rules of Eating Sushi
Don't even think about putting that pickled ginger on the fish.Stephen Tanner on Being a Germophobe, Killer Boston Pizza, and Why He Hates ‘Munchies’
"That’s an abomination."
Finally, a flavor everyone can get behind.Labor Day at M. Wells; Erica Jong at Contrada
Today's Leftovers.There’s a Real Friends Central Perk Coming to Lower Manhattan
It's the perfect place to go if it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.You Can Now Get Mission Cantina’s Full Menu Delivered
Chicken wings and beef-tongue tacos and spare ribs.Subway Inn's Eviction Order Blocked Yet Again
Now head over there right now and get a celebratory beer.Cool New Restaurant Opens in Lower Manhattan This Weekend
Discerning patrons will want to try the $300 Dom-and-pancakes special.Dairy Queen Served a Chemical-Cleaner-Laced Milkshake to a Kid
The tainted drink made the 7-year-old's mouth start "bubbling."Corn Dogs and Peach Pie Concretes Return to Shake Shack This Weekend
Also, it's your last chance to get a pint of Shack X IPA.Brooklyn Fare Manhattan Is Two Light Fixtures Away From Opening After a Chef Shuffle
The original Brooklyn location will close while César Ramirez concentrates on the new location.New Report Finds 40% of Restaurant Workers Live in Near Poverty
Workers outside the industry make almost twice as much.
This week's roundup.Tim Hortons Rolls Out Monstrous ‘Buffalo Crunch’ Doughnut
The Canadian chain is serving a prototype doughnut with spicy crushed tortillas and a pool of Buffalo-wing sauce in the center.Curry Night at Achilles Heel; Special Coffee at Joe
Today's Leftovers.This? Just an Excellent Walter White Portrait Made With Ketchup
"Heinz-enberg."Dirty French Opens September 2
The tarte au citron will be made with preserved lemons.5 Things Alex Stupak Learned About Tacos al Pastor in Mexico
The biggest takeaways that the New York chef will apply to his own version of the iconic street food.Uber Begins Testing 10-Minute Food Delivery
Maybe prepare for $35 surge-priced chicken-noodle soup.Small Town Isn’t So Sure It Wants to Host Giant Party for 1,000 Bud Light Fans
They certainly don't want the beer company to paint all of its lampposts electric blue.French Chefs Launched a Petition to Ban Negative Online Reviews
More than 1,700 people have signed it.An All-Nutella Restaurant Will Open in Park Slope
It just has to outpace Nutella manufacturer Ferrero's spry legal team first.
And that figure isn't even in Canadian dollars.New York Now Has 3 Fewer Fro-Yo Places
It's a cold, cold world.Dough Doughnuts and Ample Hills Ice Cream at Murray’s Cheese; Friday Brunch at Bustan
Today's Leftovers.What to Eat at This Year’s U.S. Open
The concessions this year include the debut of the U.S. Open's first grounds-sanctioned food truck.Arby’s Latest Meat Monstrosity Is Aptly Named the ‘Meat Mountain’
Eight meats, two cheeses, no container large enough to hold it.Little Caesars Will Roll Out Pretzel-Crust Pizzas Nationwide Next Week
Pizza and pretzel, now in holy, fast-food union, for $6 a pop.Famous West Village Bar Chumley’s Should Be Reopening Any Month Now
It's been closed for seven years.Tiny Bistro Faces Backlash After Removing 'Insensitive' Bacon Sign
One guy's pretty sure "the First Amendment extends to bacon."Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich Will Take Over La Bottega in the Maritime Hotel
Let's all take a trip to "terraced hillsides of Positano."Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi Aim to Change the Fast-Food Game With Loco’l
A healthy alternative.